US setting the tone for UN discussions on multiple crises

World Today

The United States holds a powerful seat at the United Nations. But while the superpower has been lauded for helping the world body resolve some conflicts, it has also been accused of hindering progress in others and as this year’s General Assembly kicks off, CCTV America’s U.N Correspondent Liling Tan examines the tone the U.S is setting in this era of multiple crises.

Follow Liling Tan on Twitter: @LilingTan

US setting the tone for UN discussions on multiple crises

US setting the tone for UN discussions on multiple crises

The United States holds a powerful seat at the United Nations. But while the superpower has been lauded for helping the world body resolve some conflicts, it has also been accused of hindering progress in others and as this year's General Assembly kicks off, CCTV America's U.N Correspondent Liling Tan examines the tone the U.S is setting in this era of multiple crises.

For decades, the relationship between U.N and U.S. has been like a classic love affair enthusiasm one moment, frustration the next but both needing each other, in good times and perhaps even more– in bad times.

Experts say, “United States pays nearly a third of the budget of U.N. It is absolutely central to all discussions in the Security Council.”

Case in point, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, in which Security Council action has been limited by the U.S, because America is a council member and a strong ally of Israel.The stalemate may frustrate the U.N and hit at its global credibility, but Washington doesn’t always get what it wants either.

Richard Gowan from NYU Center of International Cooperation says, “Obama has brought a little extra energy to U.S-U.N relations, but he’s also been disappointed by the U.N’s failure to deal with Syria and with Ukraine.”

Washington wants to hold Russia accountable for its role in the Ukraine conflict, but the Security Council has not been able to budge because Russia is a council member. And Russia and China have both blocked measures against Syria.

President Obama will be taking advantage of the Council’s rotating presidency- and chairing a Council meeting that coincides with the General Assembly this week. He is expected to focus his remarks on the problem of foreign terrorist fighters in Syria and Iraq. This will mark the second time Obama has chaired such a meeting, following a session in 2009 when a resolution was passed on nuclear weapons. No other U.S president has ever chaired a Security Council session.

With this extraordinary meeting, the U.S isn’t just setting the tone for the General Assembly, it is in effect driving much of the agenda. Apart from dealing with Islamic State militants, it is also the key participant in the Climate Summit, and the biggest contributor to the U.N’s fight against Ebola. So, despite its differences with other powers on the Security Council, the U.S appears to be, for the moment, chalking up big points with the world body.